Learning the Lingo: 5 Millennial Dating Terms and What They Mean

Millennials and Dating

We're all having a hard time keeping up with millennials, aren't we? They are, no doubt, the generation that is the present and the future. They are shaping much of the current landscape of society, including the way we approach dating. In recent years, millennials have even changed the language around dating. You may have heard young people throw around certain words and phrases in regards to dating and wondered what they're talking about. To help you get in touch with the younger generation, we've got five millennial dating terms and what they mean:

1. Ghosting

This is one of the most popular millennial dating terms and likely the only one you're even vaguely familiar with. “Ghosting” someone refers to the act of suddenly disappearing from a relationship. You abruptly stop returning calls and texts. You delete them from social media and all-together avoid them with no explanation. The other person is left wondering what they did, because you just vanished into thin air much like – you guessed it – a ghost.

2. Cuffing

You may have heard young people refer to “cuffing season” and wondered: What is cuffing and how does it have its own season? Cuffing refers to the act of securing a relationship that isn't necessarily authentic, but rather to fill a position for a short period of time. Cuffing season is considered October through January, basically the holiday season. People look for a partner to “cuff” so that they can be in a relationship during the holidays, and then they dismiss said partner after the season has passed.

3. Benching

When you think of the word “benching”, you probably think of sports. Now, you're on the right path with that train of thought. To “bench” someone in the dating world is much like benching them in sports. Benching refers to the act of taking someone who may be a suitable partner, but not necessarily the one you want at the moment, and setting them aside in case you need them. You may “bench” a person while you explore your other options and go to them when you're feeling lonely or desperate. (It's pretty cruel when you think about it, we know.)

4. Bread-Crumbing

We'll admit; we never heard of “bread-crumbing” until recently. This is one of the lesser-known millennial dating terms. Apparently it refers to the act of letting someone know that you're interested through a chain of small gestures. This may include liking several of their pictures on Instagram or re-tweeting them frequently on Twitter. You're basically leaving a trail of breadcrumbs that leads them to you.

5. Sleeping On

“Sleeping on” does not refer to the actual, physical act of sleeping on top of someone. To “sleep on” someone means that you have been unaware of their attractiveness or appeal. This may be someone that you see every day, and then suddenly realize that you find them attractive. You have been “asleep” and missed what they have had to offer this entire time.

Millennial Dating


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